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Council Needs Caution Over Tolls Says Peters

01 March 2005

Council Needs Caution Over Tolls Says Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters has warned the Tauranga City Council of the need for extreme care over the submissions process on the Harbour Link project.

Mr Peters’ comments follow reports that an investigation is under way after the Council conceded that they misinterpreted submissions opposed to the Harbour Bridge tolls.

“It is unfortunate that the Government has resorted to trickery to achieve road tolls in Tauranga, and to this end is treating the people of Tauranga as fools,” said Mr Peters.

“The Council must not get caught up in this duplicity.

“There is no shortage of money – how can there be when the Government gloats of a $6 billion surplus?

“Both Transit and Transfund have refused to give any valid reason why the bridge should not be classified as a state highway and the only option they seek to impose on the residents of Tauranga to build the Harbour link in a reasonable timeframe is by tolling.

“When the people of Tauranga take a stand and say ‘no’ to the tolls, their voices are buried under what the Council has described as a ‘bungling’ in its processing of submissions. This has seen submissions clearly opposed to tolls placed in a category saying they agreed “that Harbour Link was a critical project to ensure completion of the strategic roading network”.

“If the Government wasn’t so intent on treating the motorist and road user as a ‘cash cow’ there wouldn’t be such an obvious and deceitful attempt to encourage public acceptance of tolls.

ENDS

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